In the “before times,” in the days when we were just the two of us, my mother-in-law had a beach house. Well, it belonged to her husband, my husband’s step-father, who died suddenly a few weeks before our wedding. It was awful, how quickly he was taken from this life, and the newly built beach house was something my mother-in-law never got much use out of after he passed.
For us, though, it was heaven. In a little over two hours, sometimes longer in the high season, we could get out of town, and have long weekends in the beach resort towns. The house was far enough outside the city, though, that we could stay in and enjoy ourselves without having to deal with traffic. We’d often go down, even in the winter, just to enjoy some of the quiet off-season.
We’d spend so much time there, that we got to know all the little ins and outs of the back roads. We felt like locals, or at least transplants, during uncertain times. We’d moved to our new home, and with turbulence in my husband’s career, having the beach house and our adventures therein was a comfort and a stability I really miss having.
As with anything that doesn’t really belong to you, you have no say in it’s final demise. So, when my mother-in-law met a new guy and had her eyes set on retirement, the beach house provided a source of income to add to her nest egg. I totally understand her need to sell it, but I was very sad to see it go.
Now we visit the beaches in a very different way. We bank hotel points and schedule long weekends in the city itself, which had its own limitations and frustrations. And, now that we are a family, the way we approach everything is different. And, while I yearn for the before times in many ways, mostly in hours slept and the freedom to not be completely consumed by familial duties, I have to accept that those days are over.
Although, I’d like to think we’d get our own beach house some day, the idea of having one means more sacrifice. It means to accept being tied down to a single location, which given our job uncertainty is not necessarily feasible. And with children comes the ever growing list of weekend obligations, sports and birthday parties and play dates. Life is different, and it’s a good thing. But I’d love to go back and have maybe one more weekend of freedom like we used to have. A taste of what made us great before, and what gave us inspiration to have a family for the future, as a reminder that some things never die, like love, and fun, and memories in the hot summer sun.